One of the most-watched players in the NBA is on the bench as the season begins. Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star
forward Kevin Durant – the league’s regular-season MVP and without a doubt one of the best players in the game today – injured his foot in early October suffering what is called a Jones fracture to the right foot.
Essentially, he broke the bone of the small toe on his right foot. In more technical terms, Durant suffered a break in a small area of the fifth metatarsal that receives less blood, making it harder to heal. These types of injuries often result from repetitive stress or overuse. In fact, the term was coined by a doctor in the 1920s who suffered a Jones fracture from dancing. It’s the first major injury of his career. The rehabilitation will be watched closely as Jones fracture injuries, especially repeat injuries, can effectively end a player’s career.
Durant ultimately chose to have surgery on his foot, which will require several weeks to heal. Durant has said he won’t rush his rehabilitation, so expect him to be sidelined for up to two months. For fans of the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, this is welcome news as Durant (although we want to compete against the best) is the key weapon for his team that made Oklahoma City a favorite to possibly win the Western Conference.
He mulled the decision for a while before deciding on surgery. As a physician who specializes in non-surgical alternatives to deal with pain and injuries, I’d like to think he will make injection therapy such as prolotherapy part of his recovery.
I haven’t treated Durant and am not privy to his rehabilitation schedule, but prolotherapy would make sense. Prolotherapy (“Prolo”) is an injection treatment to stimulate your body’s own ability to strengthen weak and painful ligaments, tendons, cartilage and other musculoskeletal tissue. The substances injected set in motion the body’s own natural healing response to restore stability to the damaged tissue.
Prolotherapy is a medical procedure performed by medical doctors who have received specialized training in this technique. I just returned from moderating a conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where the latest in prolotherapy treatment techniques was presented. It’s an exciting, fascinating time in physical therapy, and I will be sharing some of what I learned in an upcoming blog.
What prolotherapy treatment can do is help speed Durant’s ability to heal and start working out on his injured foot. The soreness that accompanies having a foot immobilized after surgery can be pretty intense, and injection therapy such as prolo can help speed along the healing process. Specifically, it can strengthen the fibro-osseous (ligament-bone) junction around the stress fracture. The inflammation brought on by prolotherapy strengthens the bone covering, or periosteum, along with the ligamentous and tendular/muscular attachments to the area.
Sometimes people in my business couch injection therapies as an “us versus them” issue versus surgery, but they can be a complement to surgical rehabilitation. For Oklahoma City fans, it might be a great combination that helps their star player return to the court.
We’ll see you at the game!
Dr. Annette “Dr. Z” Zaharoff heads the Non-Surgical Center of Texas, focusing on non-surgical alternatives to relieve pain and repair injuries. A former professional tennis player who competed in the WTC circuit, Dr. Zaharoff remains actively involved with the US Tennis Association. Learn more about her at www.drzmd.com.